What’s Happening in Democracy Today (10-11-17 Edition)

Posted by Myeisha Boyd on October 12, 2017

Voting defines a democratic society, Santa Fe New Mexican, by Maria Perez

FairVote New Mexico Director Maria Perez and Craig O’Hare, a volunteer for Retake Our Democracy write about the upcoming mayoral race in Santa Fe. Several people have announced their candidacy, which suggests that someone might win with less than the majority of the vote. Nine years ago Santa Fe voters approved ranked choice voting, guaranteeing that the winning candidate wins with a majority (greater than 50 percent).

Should Kansas blow the minds of its voters?The Wichita Eagle, by Kirk Seminoff

Kirk Seminoff writes about how he learned the concept of ranked choice voting overtime. State Rep. Keith Esau, R-Olathe, wants to take a look at ranked choice voting. On October 27th, he scheduled a hearing and if enough lawmakers are supportive of pursuing ranked choice voting, a bill could be taken up in 2018 legislative session.

The Real Fix for Gerrymandering is Proportional Representation, Vox by Matthew Yglesias

In an alternative vote system (endorsed by conservative magazine National Review’s editorial,Reihan Salam), individual candidates still run for office, but instead of single-member districts, each state might be a big district with multiple members. In a state like Maryland with eight House members, voters would rank a bunch of candidates in order of preference, and then a formula would determine which eight people get the seat.

Ranked-choice voting alters calculus in Minneapolis, St. Paul races, Minneapolis StarTribune, by Jessie Van Berkel

Voters in both cities are no longer limited to one choice, and that’s changed the tactics candidates are employing. Some are hesitant to criticize others for fear of alienating their supporters. Both cities have had the ranked-choice system for less than a decade, and voters and campaigns are still figuring out how to navigate an election where people can list their preferences. Fans of the new system say it encourages broader participation, but critics say it is confusing.

Pushing ranked choice with beer (and pie), CommonWealth Magazine by Adam Friedman and Greg Dennis

On November 8 last year, Maine voters enacted Question 5, making Maine the first state in US history to upgrade its voting system to ranked-choice voting. The new system will be used in Maine beginning in 2018 for all federal and state elections, including party primaries. The system has been in use for years in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Minneapolis. Massachusetts should be next. Our state is among the most innovative in the nation, but our voting system hasn’t seen an upgrade in decades. We founded Voter Choice Massachusetts to change this. Over the past eight months, we’ve been crisscrossing the state to educate the public on the benefits of ranked-choice voting and how it can improve our lives.

Menlo Park: Election reformers recommend ranked-choice voting system, The Almanac by Kate Bradshaw

The city is currently facing a lawsuit threat that it must move away at-large elections toward a voting system that makes it easier for candidates supported by minority residents in Belle Haven to get elected to the City Council. Steve Chessin, president of Californians for Electoral Reform, and Jennifer Pae, director of FairVote California, gave presentations at a public workshop in Menlo Park on Oct. 7. They explained options for the city as it transitions to a voting system that can more effectively get underrepresented groups in office and reflect voters' preferences.

 

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